23 Apr Leaning Into Your Practice – A Path to the Heart
By Leslie don Ross
Our current global pandemic has been a call to action for individuals to take the reigns of our own health care through self care. Many have been called to be in service to support the crisis due to our occupations, and others are feeling this deep need to help and serve. Before we can authentically give and serve similar to the selfless service and devotion Hanuman offers unconditionally to Sita and Ram, we must first serve ourselves and our practice. It is time for us to uncover the inner obstacles we face to enable us to address these manifestations in our outer landscape with more grace and ease.
Tap into your yoga practice to more deeply explore your inner landscape as a means to help navigate the constant ebbs and flows of life.
The Path of Yoga offers us ancient wisdom and time tested methodology to navigate these uncertain times. The ancient sages wrote that each Human Being is an Island of Excellence and it is our duty to rediscover our inner treasures and radiance. Leaning into our practice as a path to establishing our own self care, we begin to create space, see our blockages, and tap into our inner light.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra (YS1:12-1:15) refers to these concepts as Abhyasa (practice) and Vairagya (non attachment to the fruits of our actions). To avoid biting off more than we can chew, start off slow, steady, and methodically to establish a solid container to hold the prana you are enlivening. In this way, we set ourselves up for success, taking in what we can digest and assimilate, and developing a hunger for more.
Self care can start simply through developing awareness; become mindful of how you breathe, how you move, and how you react and process experience in both your inner and outer landscapes. Establish a steady breath that is even, smooth, and consistent. Focus on eliminating any jerks or hesitations in the breath as a means to calm the mind for focused awareness.
Daily self care includes establishing daily mindful habits that help you tap in, connect, and move stuck energy. Take time daily for breath and body movements (ASANA) to activate and move Prana. Meditative walks in nature can help to stimulate and heighten your senses and connect you on a deeper level. Activate your smriti (retentive power) and your intellect through reading, reflecting, and contemplating. Through this regular self care practice we can begin to loosen the karmic knots (grantis) binding us to our habits and clear the cobwebs off the veil covering our clear seeing.
Through dedicated practice we become aware of what holds us back and binds us to the patterns and the habits that no longer serve us. Through practice and self care routines we create new patterns and healthy habits to replace the deep grooves that continue to drag us down through their pull of inertia. We begin to replace the grip of fear and trauma with hope, possibility, and gratitude. Our Heart begins to open and we see the divine in everything.
Faith (shraddha) developed through continued commitment to practice is akin to tending to a garden. You begin with a vision – a sankalpa of what you want to manifest. You prepare the soil like you prepare your body and mind through your Asana, Pranayama, Bandhas and Meditation (Abhyasa). You water your garden regularly, same time, same place, same amount. You give the roots time to get established. And then you Let GO…. you release any expectation (Vairagya) of when the seeds will sprout, trusting that in time your practice will bear fruit.
On the path of a yoga practitioner you may have experienced that at first you fit your yoga into your life and then it flipped and you began to fit your life into your yoga. Globally we have been told to take everything inside on a both a physical and energetic level. Why not take this time to dive in and lean into your practice? Carve out the time for you, so when you are called to serve you can do so with a full plate, a full heart, and a fullness of gratitude for every breath, and the deep connection we all share. Take this time to recalibrate, dive in, and commit to your practice; be in service to your practice as you tend to your garden, and it will bear fruit and support you and your personal evolution.
Do you have a desire to develop a daily meditation Practice? Check out the resources here.
Do you have an established daily Meditation Practice?….If so, please join the global effort towards 108 Million Hours of Meditation. This movement kicked off July 16, 2019 and will end July 16, 2020. The “Year Long Meditation (YLM) is a global group practice, undertaken to heal and empower collective consciousness.”
I invite you to join me and people from 131 countries around the globe to contribute to attaining this goal. It’s easy and it’s Free. Just login and register and you set your auto tracker to the amount of time you practice daily. Because every minute counts toward reaching the group goal, back date your hours from July 16, 2019. More info: Year Long Meditation.
Although we will not be practicing together in person at Hanuman this June, we remain connected, supporting each other through both our individual and collective journeys as we tap into our personal practice and practice together online. Join me in the Hanuman Community’s 2020 Online Summit: Yoga + Collective Resilience, a gathering of many Hanuman friends to remind us, together we are stronger than ever.
And when we emerge from our masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing, we can meet each from a place deep within our hearts, greeting friends and strangers eye to eye with compassion and mutual respect. As we dive in we rise up stronger, arriving with a new level of understanding, a richer quality of awareness and an authentic connection. May the Force be with You! And may Hanuman’s fearless heart guide you through these uncertain times.
Leslie don Ross
- Hanuman Academy: Classes, Lectures, Resources, Community
- Himalayan Institute: Wisdom Library: Classes, Lectures, Resources, Community
- Vishoka Meditation: The Yoga of Inner Radiance by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PHD
- Happiness is Your Creation by Swami Rama
- Sanctuary with Rod Stryker: Meditation App
- Year Long Global Meditation: Resources and Daily Meditation Tracker